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북녘 | [Reminiscences]Chapter 8 5. Operation Macun

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작성자 편집국 작성일20-06-28 14:35 댓글0건

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 8  5. Operation Macun

  

   


 

5. Operation Macun 

 

An epidemic of fever broke out in the guerrilla zone in the autumn of that year. This acute disease, with the symptoms of chill, high fever\and rash, swept through the valley of Xiaowangqing. I, too, fell ill\and was confined to my bed in Shiliping. I learnt later that this illness was an eruptive typhus.
The younger generation nowadays does not know what this disease is like, for they live in a land which has long been free of epidemics.
But when we were waging the armed struggle in the mountains 60 years ago, the people in the guerrilla zone went through untold suffering rom epidemics. Since thousands of people lived in the relatively small valley, epidemics of various kinds would break out. The enemy’s “punitive” forces would attack frequently, creating havoc as they pursued people rom hill to hill, so we could not improve the unsanitary conditions\and take appropriate measures to prevent epidemics, even though we wished to. All we could do was to stretch a straw rope across the gate of the house of people who had been affected\or paste a warning notice on the wall: “Off\limits. An epidemic site.”

This was the worst possible trial for us–an epidemic raged at the same time as the enemy hurled thousands of troops against us day in\and day out, in a do-or-die attempt to eliminate the guerrilla zone. To make matters worse, I was ill\and many of the leadership were pale with worry over the fate of the guerrilla zone.
They sent a platoon leader, Kim Thaek Gun, together with his wife\and about a platoon of soldiers to guard\and attend to me. When the other units went out to fight, these guerrillas remained behind to defend Shiliping. Mr.\and Mrs. Kim had been living in Yehe in north Manchuria\and had moved to Wangqing by way of Muling, determined to participate in the revolutionary struggle in east Manchuria.
In addition, Choe Kum Suk, the Wangqing county party committee member for women’s work, stayed in Shiliping, on assignment rom the party committee to nurse me.
At first I received medical care in the front room of the house of a woman called Chun Ja. Her husband, Kim Kwon Il, had been the secretary of a district party committee\and later worked as the secretary of the county party committee.

Whenever the enemy attacked the guerrilla zone, Kim Thaek Gun would carry me on his back rom valley to valley to seek shelter.
As the enemy’s “punitive” operations intensified, they carried me deep into a valley in Shiliping along a water course,\and built a hut for my shelter under a huge steep rock, difficult for the enemy to assault. One could only approach it by means of a rope hanging down the rock. Here I recovered completely thanks to the ministrations of the three people tending me.
These unforgettable individuals snatched me rom the jaws of death. But for their diligent nursing, I would not have survived in the valley of Shiliping. I was so ill that I lost consciousness several times. I was told later that each time I slipped into a coma, they would shed tears,\and cried, “For goodness’ sake, pull yourself together. What shall we do if you are so ill?”\and when Kim Thaek Gun was out looking for provisions, Choe Kum Suk would support me as we wandered in search of a shelter. It is no exaggeration to say that I only recovered thanks to her help.
I had received much assistance rom Choe since the early days after my arrival at Wangqing. When I had arrived at Macun rom the campaign in north\and south Manchuria, she was the member of the party committee of district No. 2, Dawangqing, for women’s work. At that time Ri Sin Gun had been in charge of the women’s association of the county. Whenever Choe came to Ri to discuss their work, I would often see her at Ri Chi Baek’s house. They were on intimate terms, as close as sisters. Ri Sin Gun praised her greatly for having a fast hand at writing, to which I paid no heed at first. I simply wondered how fast she could write. But I was surprised when I saw the minutes of a meeting she had taken. The contents of the speeches delivered at the meeting had been recorded in full. Modern stenographers are said to write fast, but I have not seen one who could compare to her. She could file away all the discussions we had in a single night. We let her record the proceedings of important meetings.
She was as magnanimous as a man\and warm-hearted;\and at the same time, she was a woman of principle, faithful to the revolution. She would have hauled a boat over a sandy beach if I had asked her to do it. I sent her to the enemy-controlled areas on several occasions on various missions,\and she worked efficiently there.
As a woman, she sympathized very much with me for having lost my parents. She took the same loving care of me she would have taken of her own younger brother,\and I called her “sister.” She would visit me before anybody else whenever I returned rom the battlefield, slipping into my hands something she felt I needed. Sometimes she would sew up tears in my clothes\and knit wool into underwear for me. If she did not come to Lishugou for a long time, I would go to see her. We were so much like brother\and sister that we would laugh\and joke when we met. When she met old people in the village, she would address them in the dialect of Hamgyong Province. The words she used were funny\and her intonation was even more interesting. Even when I mimicked the way she spoke\and carried the joke too far, she did not get angry, but simply smiled. But broad-minded as she was, she would not accept jokes about her being pretty.



If I said she was a beauty she would explode, saying that I was making fun of her. I enjoyed it when she pounded me on the back with her fists, so I would joke\and call her a beauty in spite of her awkward feelings. In fact she had a cherubic face, though she was not a woman of great beauty. But to me, women such as Choe Kum Suk in the guerrilla zone were much nobler\and prettier than the girls\and ladies in the big towns. I thought no women in the world were more beautiful than those in the guerrilla zone. Even though they lived year in\and year out among powder fumes, without once making up their faces, they did not complain nor became bitter; they simply devoted themselves to the revolution. I thought they were most beautiful. No doubt it was this attitude of mine that led me to call Choe Kum Suk a pretty girl. In those days I would spare nothing to make the women in the guerrilla zone look much more beautiful.
We often found face powder, cream\and other cosmetics among the trophies we had captured. At first, when they saw these articles, our guerrillas would throw them into a stream\or trample on them, saying that they were things used to make the faces of Japanese jades beautiful. For some time I did not interfere in the way the aromatic, high-quality trophies were disposed of. For I thought they were useless. Our women in the guerrilla zone did not paint their faces in those days. They all shared the view that to smell of face powder\or perfume was a sin. Some women made up their faces once in a long while on holidays, but when they came to gatherings, they would take seats in the back corners, feeling sensitive to the others’ views. I regretted this. I thought it painful that they should live a hard life with their faces stained with soot\and ashes, smelling of powder fumes all the year round\and not making up their faces even once. So I said to the guerrillas, “None of us must throw away cosmetics rom now on. We have women among us, our women in the guerrilla zone.\where on earth are there women more wonderful than our woman guerrillas\and women’s association members?”
The soldiers replied in one voice, “You are right. There are no women in the world more wonderful than our women in the guerrilla zone. They did not go to the enemy-controlled area, but have shared their lives with the guerrillas for a year\and a half, even though they are bereaved of husbands, children\and lovers by the ‘punitive’ atrocities, live on herb roots\and tree bark\and shiver with cold out in the open in unlined clothes in the dead of winter. We feel ashamed\and regret that we Korean men have not made it possible for them to dress in silks\and paint their faces with rouge\and lipstick so that they could show themselves off to the world. Let us send them all the best things we have captured, even though we don’t eat enough\and are poorly-clothed. Let us allow them to powder their faces if there are cosmetics.”
One day we captured cosmetics rom the enemy\and took them to Choe Kum Suk to give to the women’s association members. She was tremendously excited at the sight of a bundle of cosmetics. rom that day the smell of face powder began to hang in the air in the Xiaowangqing guerrilla zone. When I went to a club to enjoy a performance of the children’s art troupe on one holiday, I could smell face powder\and cream there.

Only Choe Kum Suk did not make herself up even after several days had passed. I was concerned,\and I asked her why she did not. She only smiled instead of answering. There seemed to be some reasons I did not know. So I asked Ri Sin Gun what the reason was,\and was told that Choe had given her share of cosmetics to a women’s association member in Shiliping.
Later, we attacked the enemy behind his lines\and again captured plentiful cosmetics. I gave some of them to Choe Kum Suk, saying that she should not give them to others this time, but make up her own face, for I wished to see her face powdered. She promised me that she would do this in gratitude to me for capturing the cosmetics at the risk of my life.
A few days later on my way to Shiliping to give guidance to the work of Choe Chun Guk’s company, I saw Choe Kum Suk, the head of the women’s association of Dawangqing, sitting looking very smart at the edge of the River Dawangqing, looking down at the water with her back turned to the road. I got my\orderly, Ri Song Rim, to inquire why she was there. rom a distance I saw the\orderly approach\and salute her. Then, all of a sudden he split his sides with laughter for some reason. Curious, I walked over to them quickly. No sooner did I reach the edge of the stream than Ri stopped laughing\and pointed at Choe’s face with his finger, “Comrade Commander, look at her face.”

I could not help smiling myself. Her clean, good-looking face was spottily painted with rouge\and cream. But Choe only looked up at us without understanding what was the matter.
“Your face has become a world map, auntie,” Ri said.
“Oh, my!” Choe Kum Suk exclaimed,\and she plumped down\and began to splash water on her face. Clumsy painting is no cause for guilt\or shame, but she was totally at a loss, as though she had done something shameful. On a laundry stone close by I saw a puff-box\and cream case I had sent to her a few days before.
I realized she had no skill at making-up\and was very clumsy at it. But how could I make fun of that? She was making up her face for the first time in her life. Worse still, she had no hand mirror. So she had carefully put rouge\and cream on her face as she looked down at her reflection in the water. It was neither surprising nor funny that she painted her face like a map of the world.
As Ri Song Rim approached her to tease her once again, I waved my hand to check him. If he had said a few words more at that time, she would have broken into tears\and fled.
I am sure that women who make their faces up with high-quality toilet articles in front of full-length mirrors\or at dressing-tables with triple mirrors every morning, will sympathize with Choe Kum Suk when they read this part. I have heard that nowadays it is the fashion for girls who get married to take a dressing-table with triple mirrors with them among their personal belongings. This is material proof that our women wish to make their life more abundant\and civilized.

But in those days when we had to eat gruel mixed with vegetables\and lie out on the frozen earth, fighting desperate battles to defend the guerrilla zone, only a few of the women in Xiaowangqing had hand mirrors,\and they could never dream of dressing-tables. So they went to the riverside, as Choe Kum Suk did, if they wanted to make themselves up.
That day I did not reproach Ri Song Rim for ridiculing Choe’s make-up skill, but I chided myself for not having paid attention to obtaining mirrors for the women in the guerrilla zone. Our sympathy for them was nothing when compared to the affection they had for us. Our love for the people could in no way surpass the infinite affection with which they had supported us\and attended on us.
This was the case with Choe Kum Suk. She nursed me all the time with a warm affection\and sincerity worth many times more than the confidence I had placed in her. When my illness took a turn for the better, she ran to Tumen 25 miles away before going anywhere else. Tumen was a trading centre for a range of Korean produce. She bought a bundle of Korean pears\and apples there\and returned to Shiliping.
I was moved to tears to see them. I even suffered rom the hallucination that my mother in the world beyond had transformed herself into Choe Kum Suk\and was giving me her love. It was indeed a love that only one’s own mother\or sister could give.

Inhaling deeply the fragrance of the fruits of my motherland which she had put in my hand, I said, full of gratitude, “Sister, how can I repay your kindness?”
“What kindness? If you are so eager to return it, then take me round the sights of Pyongyang after the liberation. I have heard Pyongyang is the most beautiful place in the world.” Her reply was half serious\and half joking\and yet somehow very earnest.

“Never mind. I am sure I can make your wish come true. Neither of us must be killed, but fight on in\order to set our feet on the soil of Pyongyang when the motherland is liberated, sister.”
“I shall not die. But I always feel uneasy for you, for you don’t take care of yourself.”
In\order to tempt my appetite she obtained some sesame pounded in a mortar\and mixed it into my dishes\and gruel. She took pains to serve me with delicious fatty foods, saying that I had fallen seriously ill through lack of nourishment. She made the utmost effort, but everything was scarce\or running short at that time.
Kim Thaek Gun caught minnow in a stream\and boiled them in soy sauce\or broiled them to feed me. He would catch 70\or 80 of minnow a day. He was not only enthusiastic, but very skilful at fishing.
Ashamed of serving only those fish at every meal, Choe went to the village\and got noodles. To the guerrillas who inquired after my health, she said, “The Commander must recover as soon as possible, but the trouble is that there is nothing to feed him, it upsets me to prepare his meal everyday rom the fish caught by Thaek Gun, but the Commander says he enjoys eating them.”

On hearing this, those members of my unit who were master-hands at fishing caught a sackful of fish with dragnet one day\and came to visit me. Choe Kum Suk prepared it in various ways\and produced a dish for every meal. When I got a little better, she told me I had continually called out the name of a woman she did not know when I had been in a coma\and she mimicked it; it was a joke she had invented with Kim Thaek Gun’s wife. It was quite absurd, but I was convulsed with laughter for the first time since I had fallen ill. Looking back upon it now, I see it was laughter through tears. I was well aware of that they were playing the fool in\order to cheer me up after being bedridden for so long.
Choe Kum Suk’s care of me even included telling me a false date to prevent me going back to Macun before I recovered completely. Whenever I came round rom a coma, I asked her how long I had been unconscious,\and each time she would reduce the real period. For instance, if I had been in a coma for two days, she said it was two hours\and if it had been five days, she would say five hours. After recovering completely, I added up the days rom what she had told me\and thought that only ten days had passed since I fell ill. I felt quite relieved to hear that.
The lie she had told me was exposed when Choe Chun Guk came to visit me. This honest political instructor could never tell a lie. He told me that I had been bed-bound for a month. She reproved innocent Choe Chun Guk for his tactlessness, but I immediately gathered myself\and returned to Macun.

A mountain of information was awaiting me at headquarters. The data illustrated various aspects of the Japanese imperialists’ moves to bring Jiandao under their rule.
During the month I had been ill, the enemy had completed the preparations for winter “punitive” operations. High-ranking officials dispatched rom the Japanese Cabinet had come to Jiandao\and reached a final decision on the plan for winter “punitive” operations against the guerrilla bases in east Manchuria, after discussing the matter with the brains of the army, gendarmerie, police\and diplomats in the field. The issue had even been discussed at a Cabinet meeting in Tokyo.
At meetings the Japanese imperialists held to discuss the problem of Manchuria, they claimed that “Operations for public peace in Manchuria must begin with Jiandao!” They asserted that the conquest of Jiandao was inseparably linked not only with the great cause of building up the puppet Kingdom of Manchukuo but with the security of the frontier of the Empire of Japan; its conquest was therefore a matter of great urgency for the sake of Manchukuo as well as of Japan herself. They also alleged that this campaign should be blessed for the sake of the future of the great Kingdom of Manchukuo\and that the commander of the Kwantung Army, whose mission it was to invade the Soviet\union, should supervise the police institutions in Manchuria\and that its provost marshal, charged with the control of the army, be in the forefront of the conquest of Jiandao.

After rigging up Manchukuo the Japanese imperialists had adopted several important measures to maintain public peace in the area. They committed a division of the Kwantung Army to “punitive” operations as a replacement for the Jiandao task force, established an armed constabulary in each county,\and established a secret service, judiciary police\and industrial police; in this way they made the police structure three-dimensional\and expanded it on a large scale.
Associations for the maintenance of public peace were\organized throughout Manchuria as joint consultative\organs of Japan\and Manchukuo for the liquidation of insurgents\and the pacification of public opinion. Each province\and county was a unit, in addition to the centre; furthermore, various spy\organizations emerged\and stretched out their tentacles towards the communist camp. Through the introduction of the collective security system which had existed in China in the old days\and which had proved effective for Japan in the maintenance of public\order in Taiwan\and Kwantung area, the Japanese\and Manchukuo police bound the people hand\and foot. Large-scale colonization by armed Japanese immigrants who were reserve soldiers\and the expansion of the self-defence corps forces helped to check the anti-Manchukuo, anti-Japanese forces which had deep roots in the three provinces of northeast China. The Japanese imperialists empowered local secret-service policemen engaged in the work with rebels to execute them on the spot.

All of these measures showed what painstaking efforts the Japanese imperialists had exerted to dominate\and retain the colony of Manchukuo. A particular headache for them was the armed struggle in the Jiandao area, waged by Korean communists who struck at the face\and back of the Empire in the northeastern corner of China,\and the full-scale national liberation movement of which this struggle was a mainstay. It was no exaggeration when a Japanese provost marshal said that the conquest of Jiandao would be 90 per cent achieved if the Korean communists’ activities were suppressed. The so-called great Empire of Japan was so afraid of the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army\and the guerrilla zones, its strongpoints. The Japanese imperialists therefore made frenzied attempts to eliminate the anti-Japanese guerrilla zones in east Manchuria at any cost.
In the summer of 1933 the military authorities of Japan recalled to Korea part of the Jiandao task force which had suffered heavy casualties rom the attacks of the AJPGA\and dispatched in its place the Hitomi unit\and many other crack troops of the Kwantung Army to various parts of east Manchuria. The main forces of their occupation army in Korea were concentrated in the northern frontier region of our country, so that they could be promptly committed to “mopping-up” operations in the guerrilla zones. Large armed forces–over ten thousand men in all–encircled the guerrilla zones in Jiandao\and began winter “punitive” operations.
Directing his main effort to the Xiaowangqing guerrilla zone,\where the General Staff of the Korean revolution was situated, the enemy hurled against this area forces of 5,000 men rom the Kwantung Army, the puppet Manchukuo army, the police\and self-defence corps. The density of the enemy’s troop dispositions in this battle has never been surpassed in any war except the wars of pre-modern days in which the belligerent armies contended for victory in square formation,\and the battle fought in Lushun (Port Arthur) during the Russo-Japanese War, since the advent of skirmish-line warfare. The enemy even put his air force on alert. Special detective teams supervised by the Jiandao secret service were also dispatched to the areas surrounding the guerrilla zones.
Thus the whole region of east Manchuria became the field of the most fierce\and bloody battle between the Japanese imperialists\and the Korean communists. It was more a final showdown than a battle for the defence of a few guerrilla zones.
The guerrilla forces in Xiaowangqing were only two companies. Worse still, food reserves were low there. The guerrilla bases in east Manchuria found themselves in a critical situation that threatened their very existence. No one in the guerrilla zone was optimistic enough to believe that the two companies could defeat the powerful enemy armed with guns\and aircraft. We were caught between two alternatives–fighting to the last man\or abandoning the guerrilla zone\and surrendering to the enemy. We chose to fight to the last.
According to the principles of guerrilla tactics, the best thing to do was to avoid a showdown. But if we did not fight, the enemy would swallow up the guerrilla zones on the Tuman River in a single gulp. If we did not defend these zones the revolutionary masses who had been enjoying genuine equality\and freedom under the care of the people’s revolutionary government would be frozen, starved\and shot to death in the dead of winter. Furthermore, the people would no longer look up to us.

The autumn scenery of Wangqing was magnificent, but it was about to be ruined by the furious storm of the winter “puntive” operations. All of the guerrilla zones turned to us in tense anticipation. The people’s countenances brightened\or clouded depending on the soldiers’ expressions.
I began to look for some ingenious scheme, but none occurred to my mind. There was no man at my side with whom I could discuss tactical problems. Pak Hun, a graduate rom the Huangpu Military Academy, was absent; Kim Myong Gyun, xiaogezi (little man–Tr.), who had served in the Soviet army for some years,\and Ri Ung Gol, a graduate rom a military academy of the Independence Army, had disappeared after being accused of being members of the “Minsaengdan.”
Ryang Song Ryong, too, had fallen a prey to the “Minsaengdan” nonsense.
I even thought how happy I would be if such a famous general as Hong Pom Do was with us. Hong was a Righteous Volunteers’ Army general who had won a brilliant repute on the soil of Wangqing. The brilliant victories the Independence Army had won at Qingshanli\and Fengwugou could be said to be the brainchild of Hong Pom Do. Some people belittled him by saying that he was a general who fought with an intuitive knack, without any strategy, but that was nonsense. What they had described as a knack was in the final analysis the product of strategic genius.

When he was alive, my father often said that Hong Pom Do was a man of remarkable resources. Had he not been a resourceful man, he would not have dealt such a telling blow to the Japanese army on the Gaoli Pass by employing skilful ambushes so cleverly\and prudently. Those who could not discern the intelligence concealed beneath his woodcutter’s appearance, should not have claimed that they knew him. Many years had passed since this commander-in-chief of the Korean Independence Army, who once had had the area around Haerbaling under his thumb, concealed his\whereabouts. His image seemed to be fading rom the people’s memory with the passage of time. My distressed mind was tormented by a yearning for help rom my forerunners.
As I was struggling day in\and day out with the problem of strategy in the log-cabin of the headquarters, the old man Ri Chi Baek called on me with a pot of honey one midnight.
Holding out the pot to me, he said, “I am sorry that I did not give you anything when you were suffering rom fever. Please take this honey to help you recover.”
“Wild honey is worth its weight in gold. You did wonders to obtain it.”
“Old man Ma who lives at the entrance of Hwanggarigol got it. A few days ago he boasted that he had collected some wild honey, so I went to see him. He gave me the whole pot, saying he would sell even his house to obtain anything that was helpful to your health. I am on my way back rom his house now.”

I felt my heart overflow with gratitude for their consideration. “Thank you very much, but I am young. You should take this
honey.”

“Please do not decline the kindness of old man. I have suffered constant regret for not nursing you. You look haggard beyond deion, Commander.”
He pulled at my sleeve, suggesting that we take pot luck at his house. I followed him without objecting. A meal with him was welcome, but I was more interested in spending a night in the house still scented by the presence of Pan. Even though I had moved my lodging, I left a large share of my affection with the generous, kind-hearted family who had taken care of me as warmly as if I was their own son.
We ate corn gruel mixed with kidney beans\and pumpkin as a midnight snack. The food tasted sweet, perhaps because I had just recovered rom my febrile disease. The hostess, Mrs. So Song Nyo, was well aware of my likes\and dislikes in food. The most notable food she used to treat me to was potato\and maize roast. The potatoes in the Jiandao area were large\and the year-old ones contained a lot of sugar. Such roasted potatoes with turnip pickle soup tasted wonderful on a day when it was snowing heavily.
After the snack I lay beside the old man in the room\where Pan had stayed.
The old man could not sleep for some reason; he kept sighing continually. I thought he was yearning for his son who had passed away a few months before. His son, Ri Min Gwon, had been severely wounded in an attempt to disarm Guan’s unit when it was about to surrender to the enemy in the spring of 1933; he had died while undergoing treatment in a hospital in Qiuyuegou. I myself participated in the ceremony held in the memory of Ri Min Gwon.
 
In September 1932, a memorial service for the guerrilla, Choe Yun Sik, was held in this house.
“Why do you keep sighing all night long, father?”I asked him, pushing aside the quilt\and turning round on the bed to face him.
“I cannot go to sleep. How can I sleep in peace when I have heard that thousands of the enemy are encamped at the entrance to the guerrilla zone? They say that the guerrilla army will be crushed in this ‘mopping-up’ operation. What do you think, Commander?” “It is a false rumour spread by the reactionaries. But if we don’t make full preparations, the guerrilla zone will collapse in two\or three days. Frankly speaking, the destiny of the guerrilla zone is
hanging in the balance. So I cannot sleep, either.”

“It makes no sense for the guerrilla zone to be destroyed. How can we live without this zone? We would rather kiss the dust\or give up the ghost.”
“You are quite right. If we are to die, then we must fall in this guerrilla zone. But what should we do? The enemy numbers thousands,\and our army defending Xiaowangqing is no more than one hundredth of the size of the enemy.”
The old man puffed nervously at a cigarette\and spoke in a serious tone of voice, pushing his pillow in front of my face, “If you are short of soldiers, I will become one for you. There are quite a few old men like me in Xiaowangqing who know how to fire a rifle. They will be able to fight much better than the Kanghwajin guard corps if each of them is given a rifle. I think there are rifles\and ammunition that the Independence Army soldiers buried somewhere near Zhongqingli\where we lived before. If you can find them, you can surely arm the hunters\and the old men who were Independence Army soldiers in the old days as well as the young people like my son-in-law, Jung Gwon, who is busy with some kind of youth work. Everyone should become a fighter\and fight to the death fight. If we have no rifles, we must defend the guerrilla zone by clutching the enemy’s throat\and giving him a belly throw.”
At the time when I was in despair over the disparity between our forces\and the enemy’s, his remark suggested to me that the only way out of the impending difficulties was an all-people resistance. I felt confident that we could seize the initiative in the fight if we fought a death-defying struggle in every quarter, by enlisting not only such paramilitary\organizations as the self-defence corps\and the Children’s Vanguard, which I had intended to use to man the front line with the guerrilla army, but also the unarmed people. The defensive battle at Xiaowangqing would have to be a battle between the enemy’s army\and every soldier\and civilian in the guerrilla zone, rather than a battle between the enemy’s army\and the anti-Japanese guerrilla army. We could also count on the support of the people rom the semi-guerrilla zone.

This talk with Ri Chi Baek encouraged me. I thought, “He is right. When the people say they will fight\and they can win, they mean what they say. Victory in war depends on the will of the people\and on how efficiently one enlists them.”
Thus I received my first inspiration while listening to the calm voice of an old man who represented the opinion of thousands of people in the Wangqing guerrilla zone. The plan of operations we were mapping out had without fail to contain the people’s will as expressed by the old man Ri.
I resolved that the defensive battle we were going to wage at Xiaowangqing should be made an all-out fight fought by all the people, young\and old, men\and women, in the guerrilla zone. This definition of all-out resistance was an expression of our supreme confidence in the people in the guerrilla zone, who had been sharing life\and death, weal\and woe, with the army for the past two years. The significant period for which fighting itself had been our routine in the guerrilla zone allowed me to feel such confidence. The guerrilla zones could not have remained strong for two years after their establishment through the efforts of the army alone. One factor was the efforts of the people, who had played a considerable part in building up the army\and defending the guerrilla zones. When we fought a hard battle with the enemy, who was ten\or a hundred times stronger than us, we felt strong when we had the people in our rear. When we sensed their breath as they ran along the trenches, bringing hot water\and rice balls, our combat efficiency increased a thousand times.

This faith in the people’s strength underlay my decision to fight an all-out battle\and my plan of battle. This determination conformed to the people’s will to become an integral whole with the army under all circumstances\and their determination to live in the guerrilla base, if they were to live,\and die there if they were to die. An all-out effort by the people, when enlisted, would be a formidable force.
This was the reserve force of the guerrilla army suggested by the old man, Ri Chi Baek. But in fact the people of the guerrilla base were not a mere reserve force; they were a most reliable component of the main force.
We reaffirmed the tactical principles of attacking\and destroying dispersed enemy forces by concentrated initiatives\and of dispersing\and harassing the enemy behind his lines when he came under attack rom concentrated forces. We then called on all the people in Xiaowangqing to offer all-out resistance.
In response to the appeal, all the\organizations\and social strata turned out as one for the preparations for the decisive battle. The self-defence corps\and young volunteers’ corps advanced to the defensive position together with the guerrilla army\and the young\and middle-aged men without weapons piled up rock barricades on the steep heights along the line of defence. The famous hunters Jang, Choe, Ri\and others rom Wangqing came to Macun, formed a hunters’ corps with the veterans of the Independence Army,\and then took the field. The women’s stretcher teams\and cooking units also went on the alert. Children set spiked wooden planks in the roads along which the enemy’s convoy was expected. The infirm\and small children were evacuated to safe places.

We made full preparations for the fight in the determination not to follow in the footsteps of the Independence Army under the northern political\and military administration, which had fled, deserting Wangqing. We would rather fall in battle.

Wangqing had witnessed not only the victory at Fengwugou but also the bitter grief of the ignominious defeat suffered by the Independence Army under the northern political\and military administration which retreated, leaving its compatriots to suffer unspeakable “punitive” atrocities.
In south Manchuria there had been an Independence Army\organization called the western political\and military administration; there had also been the northern political\and military administration in the area around Xidapo, Wangqing County, in east Manchuria, which was expanding the area under its military influence with So Il as its president\and Kim Jwa Jin as its commander-in-chief. It was said that the patriotic fighters affiliated with the administration numbered 500,\and the\organization had had one million rounds of ammunition as well as funds amounting to 100,000 yuan. The cadet-training school (military academy) run by the\organization in Shiliping had been a considerable size; it could accept more than 400 cadets. The processions of animal-drawn convoys carrying supplies of straw sandals\and provisions contributed by the peasants in Wangqing\and its vicinity to the political-military administration used to stretch back as far as Xidapo. This army, in cooperation with the Korean Independence Army of Hong Pom Do, had once annihilated a large force of the Japanese aggressors’ army at Qingshanli.

When Kim Jwa Jin, in grey serge uniform, with a sword at his side, passed by on his white horse with bluish mane, the people in Wangqing, men\and women, young\and old, used to bow deeply, as if they were greeting the cortege of the Prime Minister\or the King of feudal Korea. They did this to express their gratitude to the Independence Army for the victory at Qingshanli. But at the news of the imminent massive “punitive” attack on Jiandao by the Japanese army, the renowned General Kim Jwa Jin\and his men had vanished, without offering the slightest resistance. Unaware of this, the Wangqing people had gone out on the road to have a look at the commander-in-chief, Kim Jwa Jin.
Only one company remained. For some reason this company had attended the graduation ceremony at the Tongil School just prior to the “clean-up” of Jiandao. In accordance with custom the school had prepared a sumptuous feast for the grand graduation ceremony. As soon as the ceremony was over, the soldiers had given three hasty cheers for independence, sat at the table\and wolfed down unrefined liquor, rice cakes, cold noodles\and other food. When the “punitive” forces arrived, they all fled. The pupils\and their parents, too, had scattered in all directions. The scene was said to have been like a disturbed anthill. The “punitive” forces had shot, bayoneted,\and slashed with swords the defenceless people who were running helter-skelter for their lives. The Independence Army under the northern political\and military administration had been routed. The people in Wangqing lamented over the sudden ruin of the army which had seemed so impressive.

If such a tragic event were to recur in the land of Wangqing,\where power was in the hands of the people, we would not have the face to claim that we were the sons\and daughters of Korea. We decided to strike at the enemy by employing elusive
tactics–ambush, allurement, surprise attack\and night storming–as guerrilla warfare required. We had evolved these guerrilla tactics ourselves in the course of defending the guerrilla zone rom the enemy’s repeated “punitive” offensives.
In the early days, when the Korean communists defined guerrilla warfare as the basic form of armed struggle\and began to put it into effect, we had known practically nothing about tactics. We could have referred to the experiences of others\and their manuals if they had been available, but we could not find them. So we sent a man to the Soviet\union to obtain some reference materials on war, including the combat experience of the Civil War; they had been of some help to us in understanding the concept of guerrilla struggle\and the method of\organizing ambushes\and surprise attacks, but they had not been suitable for our actual situation.
As a first step to writing a manual of guerrilla warfare in our own style, I finished writing a pamphlet after the battle at Jiapigou at the end of March 1933. The pamphlet was titled Guerrilla Actions,\and it brought together the initial military experience we had gained in our armed activities in the space of more than one year.

The pamphlet dealt with fundamental matters, ranging rom the guerrillas’ spiritual\and moral qualities to the general principles of guerrilla warfare. It also codified all of the principles\and methods, ranging rom the\organization of guerrilla combat actions such as raid, ambush, defensive battle, march\and bivouac, to guerrilla skills such as firing, handling weapons\and discipline. Needless to say, this was not a great book of military science such as Sun-tzu’s Art of War\or Clausewitz’s On War. But in the situation at that time, when we had neither renowned military theoreticians nor veterans of armed struggle, the pamphlet was a valuable handbook, representing the simple theory of our own style of guerrilla warfare. The officers\and men of the guerrilla army studied it until it became dog-eared rom being carried in their rucksacks,\and they tried their best to apply the regulations specified in it to their military practice.

Guerrilla Actions, together with the Guerrilla Manual which was published later, provided prototypes for the establishment\and development of our revolutionary armed forces\and Juche-based tactics.

On November 17, 1933, the enemy attacked the Xiaowangqing guerrilla zone rom three directions in combined operations of infantry, artillery\and air force. The descendants of the Samurai fell upon the guerrilla zone like angry wolves, growling\and threatening to bite at everything, even at the trees standing there. These wild invaders seemed intent on swallowing up the land of Wangqing at a single gulp.

The hordes of “punitive” troops crawled in waves over the frozen ground, their aircraft continually bombing Macun\and Lishugou\where the military\and political headquarters were located. The enemy’s tactics had become more brutal. Previously, when frustrated in his attack he used to retreat to his camp\and then resume his onslaught. But now he did not retreat even when his advance was checked, but stayed at the point he had reached, consolidating the line he had established before advancing again, step by step. Employing this murderous tactic, he destroyed every life\and burnt down everything he came across.

However, our army\and people heroically defended the guerrilla base in unbreakable unity.
The fiercest of the battles was fought on Mt. Ppyojok\and the outpost in the Ssukpatgol on Mt. Mopan, the gateway to the guerrilla zone. The 3rd company\and the Anti-Japanese Self-Defence Corps manning these mountains mowed down the attackers with a surprise barrage of gunfire, grenades\and rocks when the enemy had advanced to within 20 metres. The enemy attacked tenaciously in waves, but failed to penetrate the line of the outpost. The defenders on Mt. Mopan destroyed the enemy’s highly mobile cavalry that was outflanking the defence at a bend of the River Dawangqing.

As the enemy committed large forces in the successive waves of attacks on Mts. Ppyojok\and Mopan, we switched rom an all-out defensive to a war of attrition, employing flexible manoeuvres mainly designed as enticements\and feints, in combination with positive defensive actions. This was a uniquely flexible tactic for destroying the enemy forces continuously by employing a variety of combat actions,\and not allowing the enemy a moment’s breathing space by constantly drawing him into engagement on our own initiative. Had we clung to a stereotyped defence,\and not employed mobile tactics in good time, the guerrilla army would have been routed by the enemy’s tenacious attacks based on numerical\and technical superiority.
In line with our new tactics, the guerrillas, along with the members of the paramilitary\organizations, withdrew rom the outposts; they lured the enemy deep into the defensive zone\and crushed him with constantly-switching tactics–ambush, sharp-shooting, raiding the enemy’s campsites\and burying bombs in the bonfire.
Bombs could be buried in bonfires even by small boys,\and the effectiveness of the measure was assured. Whenever we moved rom one position to another we made sure that bombs were buried in the bonfires. As soon as the enemy soldiers reached the deserted position, they would gather around the campfires to warm themselves. Then the bombs would explode, blowing up the enemy. O Ryong Sok, the fourth younger brother of O Paek Ryong, working with the women of the self-defence corps, killed the enemy by this method at the central sentry post on Mt. Ppyojok.

We also\organized frequent night raids on the enemy’s camps. Raiding parties of two to five guerrillas would infiltrate the enemy’s position, scatter leaflets to disillusion the enemy forces\and fire a few shots before returning. Three\or four shots fired at the enemy’s tents\or his campfires would transform his entire camp into bedlam. Such raiding parties were sent three, four,\and even five times a night. The enemy soldiers were unable to sleep all night; they trembled in fear\and shot at random among themselves. The enemy was so scared by our constant raids that war lunatics began to appear among his ranks. Some enemy soldiers surrendered to us after reading such leaflets as “Appeal to the Japanese Soldiers!”\and “Appeal to the Puppet Manchukuo Army Soldiers!” scattered by the guerrillas.
Hunters armed with matchlock rifles, also fought. Though they were old, their marksmanship was marvellous. Their admirable skill in shooting only enemy officers could be compared to that of modern snipers. The members of the women’s association rushed to\and rom the trenches with rice balls\and hot water on their heads. Children until 10 years of age came to the battlefields\and beat drums\and blew trumpets to boost the men’s morale.
A conspicuous feature of Operation Macun was the showers of rock blocks rom outpost positions, like those on Mt. Ppyojok. These piles of rock would roar down upon the attacking “punitive” forces, killing\and wounding them en masse. The thunder of a rock-slide down on the steep slope\and the clouds of dust like gunsmoke struck terror into the aggressors’ hearts. This method also proved very effective in halting the advance of the enemy’s cavalry, vehicles\and artillery.

One of the heroes shown up by these battles was a guerrilla with a nickname of “13 bullets.” He had been known in the Wangqing area as an adventurous young man since the time when he had captured rifles rom a tax office on the Tuman River on assignment rom the YCL\organization. When he arrived at the office he had said, “How are you, panjandrums? I am a Korean young man, a member of the Young Communist League.” He introduced himself, then took out a revolver\and took down three rifles hanging on the wall without any great hurry. Then he rang up the police station\and shouted, “What are you doing over there? There’s a communist here. Come over here quickly, all of you.” The police station had has
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